Thursday, June 19, 2008


The Lefty mag The Nation devotes its June 30 issue to the topic of "Plutocracy Reborn." Much of the discussion is intent on proving points I've already made. On page 18, in fact, is a drawing of a pyramid which could also have illustrated my June 5 post, "Amazement." If the editors of this periodical have been reading this blog, that's a welcome sign.

What The Nation needs to do now is to put its professed ideals into practice inside their magazine. Instead of always recruiting millionaire boozhie authors like Barbara Ehrenreich to speak FOR working people, they should consider the possibility that there are many real-not-fake working people who are also writers and able to speak for themselves. (In contradiction to Keith Gessen's infamous remark in n+1 a while back that there were no writers working as waitresses.) That's the essence of democracy.

The Nation could also begin reviewing books by outsider writers-- such as titles from the ULA Press, or by Leopold McGinnis and others; writers with new viewpoints and with no connections whatsoever to the current plutocracy.

Katrina and Company: The ball's in your court. Let's do it!


Anonymous said...

"Home base for literary impresario King Wenclas, founder of the ULA, the home base for rebels, iconoclasts, underground writers, zinester... and former CIA AGENTS and INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS."

Seriously, rather than speed ahead, change the subject, and try to outrun the comments at your IMPORT post, I think you should not proceed further until you address the very serious issues raised there.

You've spent the last two weeks trying to discredit PEN International, an independent organization who for the last eighty years have stood up to oppressive regimes intent on squashing dissenting writers. In the past you've tried to smear and discredit Paris Review and its editors and writers... in part for a lack of political engagement?

Meanwhile, you've published and have been touting a writer, Richard Cummings of Bridgehampton, NY, who seems to identify himself as a former intelligence officer, is identified by another of his internet publishers as a former CIA agent... all without any comment on the issues this raises for you.

Of course, it's not likely Cummings was an intelligence officer or agent, now disgruntled. He's simply angry about being unpublished. It's much more likely he was a poseur, trying to appear to be one in order to perpetrate some hoax, or to get attention. In any case, given your attention to related subjects it's something you should address. In the comments section of IMPORT, or an appropriately labeled post.

It's things like this that make us miss Harland.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Wenclas doesn't understand.

Say there are nine letters, total, in Harland's first and last names. "Jon Smythe." The correct answer would be "m."

Say there are thirteen letters total. "Albert Horwitz." The correct answer would be "h."

So, which of the letters comprising Harland's true first and last name falls exactly in the middle of the overall arrangement? You can use a piece of paper and a pencil to figure it out if you like.

King said...

??? Curious post. The dissenting writer who some seem intent on squashing is . . . myself!
RATHER than address what Cummings said, or the questions I've raised about Paris Review, you, ghost, seem to want to shoot the messengers.
Cummings words gained an awful lot of credibility when Peter Matthiessen acknowledged his CIA connection. Much has been written elsewhere about how the CIA infiltrated the literary world beginning during the cold war, to use the American literary system for its own purposes. Yet there was no follow-up by the media establishment. All the crack investigators and journalists didn't look into it. Establishment writers themselves were silent.
PR panicked-- as witnessed by the behavior of its former editor James Linville-- but the subject was skirted.
I have nothing to hide.
Do you??
Why are you anonymous?

"Brooklyn" Frank said...

Mathiessen confirmed recently on the Charlie Rose show that The Paris Review was started as a CIA cover operation for himself as an operative in France, FYI.

He claims that it was quickly abandoned as such, and that he soon left the CIA thereafter.

Link to the interview here.

Or just go to and search for PM's name.

"Brooklyn" Frank said...

Oops, link failed.

Tom Hendricks said...

The NATION should also be doing reports on the ULA. Why don't they cover writers advocacy groups? Isn't that their job?

cs said...

The reading public is going to be up in arms about this if the true facts get out. It'll really blow the lid off everything.

I agree! The Nation definitely should be looking into writers' advocacy groups. Celebrating their efforts on behalf of the unpublished (their voices unheard, their points of view unexplored...), and rooting out corruption wherever they find it. For example: I'll bet someone, somewhere at PEN is leveraging their connections to their own advantage, and not to the advantage of Greater Literature. I heard a rumor that a young woman working in an administrative job there parlayed it into a position as Managing Editor at a nonprofit arts journal! Can you believe it?

King said...

You're talking about the boozhie kind of well-educated person. I'm talking about PEN having a broader focus than that.

Anonymous said...

PEN focuses on the sort of oppressed author who has to flee his country of origin, rather than the sort who isn't invited to panels at Swarthmore. Imagine that.

King said...

Well, yeah, but their focus is part of a much broader picture. Obviously my post is way beyond you.
The Imperial impulse has always been, throughout history, to do things for other nations own good. This was once less hidden; in the days of the British Empire even called "The White Man's Burden."
"We HAVE to go in and civilize/pacify/educate/convert etc etc these people."
I contend that PEN America's focus should first be on America.
There are plenty of writers in America's prisons. (We do, after all, have the largest prison population on the globe.) I'll be soon soliciting a report on this. Stay tuned.

cs said...

They're in prison because of what they've written? Selby and Burroughs and Henry Miller, they all went to prison? No, King. In this country, people win prizes for saying the government's full of shit. They buy their personal computers with George W. Bush's money.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, in response to king's comment, I bothered to read what he cites to follow his argument. Donadio on Humes makes clear that Matthiessen's being in CIA was reported a number of times over the last thirty years. Cummings in the ULA report merely repeated it, so the NYT in no way confirms his claims. According to you, Linville formerly of Paris Review goes into conniptions, and this proves... maybe that he's a hothead overly-attached to his self image? Wow, that's unique among literary types, oh and very confirming of your theories.

Gimme a break. That Cummings thing reads like a joke.